One of the unique bits of real estate in the Tri-Valley region is the Iron Horse Regional Trail, which runs along the former Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The paved path following the course of an abandoned railroad track runs 24 miles from Highway 4 in Concord to the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. Eventually, it will extend 33 miles from Livermore to Suisun Bay.
Like the trains that followed the route between 1891 and 1977, when the rails were abandoned, the path winds its way through towns, business parks, residential areas and open fields. It’s popular with cyclists, equestrians, joggers and pedestrians, as well as dogs and their people. Leashes are required on most segments; watch the signs to stay on top of regulations.
While scenic and restful, the Iron Horse Trail rarely veers far from civilization. The towns that rose along the rail corridor in the late 1800s stand ready to offer you a latte (and Rosco a bowl of water) as you pass through. Step off the trail in historic downtown Danville, and you’ll hit the shopping, dining and diversion trifecta.
You and Daisy can contemplate the next leg of your excursion over award-winning California cuisine served in the shady courtyard of The Peasant and the Pear, whose name reflects a contemporary take on rustic bistro classics. If British pub fare is more your style, head to The Crown, where fish and chips are a specialty. Both eateries are centrally located on Hartz Avenue.
There’s no need to bolt off after your meal if you enjoy shopping or sightseeing. Downtown Danville’s architecture is easy on the eyes, and many of its 236 shops welcome your well-behaved pooch.
If you’re making a day of it, consider a visit to Hap Magee Ranch Park about a mile toward Alamo along the Iron Horse Trail (or La Gonda Way, if you prefer city streets). It has an excellent off-leash dog park, Canine Corral, where Rosco can run off all that good behavior she displayed while you were antiquing downtown.